Paco and the Popping Peppers

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One of the more intriguing applications featured in the Slots-3 Series of 3D games by Betsoft Gaming is the south-of-the-border themed, 5-reel, 30-payline slot called “Paco and the Popping Peppers.” The game differs from most of the other slots in this line up in that it has replaced the traditional spinning reels with a cascade format. What’s more, there is just one Special Bonus Feature, rather than the usual three or four, but it’s a great one that comes up frequently.

Paco and the Popping Peppers opens with a prologue in what appears to be a dusty, wind-blown ghost town. A melancholy trumpet plays in the background as the narrator explains the situation and a lonely burro wanders by: “In an old town south of the border, overrun with despair and depression, only one man can set things right again…. Time for fiesta!” Paco and his fruity, spicy salsa buddies begin mixing drinks, playing music and dancing. The fun is about to begin.

The main screen for Paco has the five cascading columns lined up in wide doorway at the front of an adobe structure with a thatched roof. Paco takes his position at the left of the screen, where he naps, tunes his guitar, applauds the results of winning spins and regales the player with such phrases as, “Andale, Amigo!” and “Are you taking a siesta?”

Most of the key controls for the game are located across the bottom of the screen. The coin denomination for the game can be selected by clicking directly on the “Choose Coin” indicator on the drum head in the lower left corner, from €0.05 to €0.50. Directly below the middle reels are three drums marked “Bet Per Line,” “Select Lines” and “Spin.” There is also a folk guitar marked “Max Bet Spin.” By clicking directly on the controls, it is possible to set the total Stake from 1 to 5 coins per line on 1~30 paylines up to a maximum of €75.

Once the Stake has been set, clicking on Spin of Max Bet Spin will set the reels in motion. Lively fiesta music accompanies the cascade of symbols onto the reels, and for all of the winning combinations, an explosion occurs, destroying the winning symbols and creating gaps to be filled by fresh symbols falling from above. The “Sound” can be turned on or off by using the toggle above the first column.

The symbols appearing on Paco and the Popping Peppers are culinary items that might be found at fiesta. They include Onion, Garlic, Green Pepper, Red Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Coconut, Tomato and Pineapple. These symbols pay line multipliers from 10X to 1000X whenever three or more match up on an active payline. The Piñata is the wild symbol in this game, substituting for all of the above symbols. It also pays 2500X if five Piñata align in a winning combination.

As noted, symbols cascade down from the top to fill gaps whenever a “Pop” eliminates winning combinations. On the right side of the screen, a multiplier ladder can be seen. It starts at 1X and climbs up a rung each time a cascade results in another win. This can continue up to a maximum multiplier of 10X. All wins for a cascade are multiplied by the current multiplier value. The more cascades that occur, the higher the winnings.

The Special Bonus Feature on Paco is the “Higher or Lower” bonus round. It is triggered any time three or more Beach Huts appear as the result of a cascade. A second screen will open, showing Paco standing in the sand beside a “Score Board,” in the middle of which is a playing card drawn at random from a 52-card deck. The player must choose whether the next card will be “Higher” or “Lower” than the current card. Ties result in a loss.

The player continues to predict cards, higher or lower, until ten rounds of play have occurred or three “Lives” are lost by mistaken forecasts. In all cases, Paco will award bonus credits and in higher amounts for surviving the rounds without losing Lives.

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